I believe there’s a plan for this world. I believe that plan is good. It involves redemption, restoration and complete healing. In the long-run, things will get better. But right now, they seem pretty sucky.
Because I’ve been taking intentional steps to reduce stress, care for my body and allow plenty of time for rest, I assumed my insomnia would begin to subside. I would slowly begin to sleep for longer stretches, I’d feel tired earlier in the evening and fall asleep faster, and my energy levels would eventually pick up. But my body gave me a reality check during the past several weeks.
It’s not better. Unfortunately, the sleeplessness has gotten worse than ever; I’ve been sleeping just 2-3 hours for several nights now. It’s not fun. Frustration begins to set in and I feel like I’ve been cheated. How do I find the good when things keep getting worse?
When in Doubt, Look to Job
A few days ago, around 4 a.m., I flipped to Job to figure out how he dealt with discouraging circumstances. Job did pretty well coping when all of his stuff, and even his children, were taken away from him. However, once his health began to suffer, the dude kind of lost it. I get it, though. When life hurts, it’s easy to ask questions like “why am I here?” or “wouldn’t death be so much easier than this?”
I’ll confess that I skipped to the end of the story to remind myself how things worked out. Truth be told, Job never does figure out why he had to suffer so intensely. God just tells him it’s not his place to know, then blesses him with even more than he had before.
I hate that Job—and anyone throughout history, for that matter—had to go through such great loss. But man, am I glad he did. I turn to his story so often when I’m hurting. It always reminds me that I’m not alone and that things will work out in the end (even if they don’t work out the way we plan or expect). Seeing someone persevere gives me inspiration to keep going, one foot in front of the other, one day at a time.
Pain as a Catalyst
When pain and suffering get worse, one of the main questions we ask is “why?”
Like Job, we’ll probably never know the full answer (at least not in this lifetime). But God certainly gives hopeful glimpses of how He uses our painful journeys for good.
I got to chat with an encouraging friend recently, and we began discussing how ugly the world can be. We talked about our body-image obsessed culture, mental illness, substance abuse and an overall loss of self-worth that seems to affect many.
After hitting a heavy silence in the conversation, it occurred to me how God works through many of these difficult circumstances to spur us toward action. I’m writing an insomnia blog to connect and encourage others going through the misery of sleeplessness. My friend is writing a blog on body image to encourage other women dealing with the issues she has faced from a young age. I’ve also met a former addict who became a hospital chaplain to help others through their struggles, a woman once homeless who started a program to get others off of the streets, and so many similar examples.
Pain stinks for a million and one reasons, but I cannot for a minute think that it’s meaningless. When people hurt, they want to help others experiencing the same pain. They get it, they know how terrible it is, and they can no longer sit idly by while people face it alone. I know I wouldn’t wish insomnia on my worst enemy. I want to do whatever I can to help encourage those in sleepless misery, even if it’s just saying, “Hey, I’m right there with you. We’re in it together.”
I don’t know how long I’ll be in this trial, or why it’s happening. But I do believe I’ll look back someday—maybe soon or maybe at the very end—and I’ll know it was worth it.
Peace and blessings,
Kat, (semi-professional) insomniac